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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 5

Posted on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016



It isn’t the holidays until the warm, comforting smell of mulling spices are wafting through my house. There is something so inviting, and cheerful about that aroma.  I think mulled wine is one of the greatest holiday traditions, and if it isn’t currently one of your traditions, I’ll ask you to kindly reconsider. No offense egg nog, but you don’t hold a string of holiday lights to mulled wine. For today’s recipe we give mulled wine some bones and create a rye cocktail that really packs a wow! This recipe is so great because it take familiar flavors to a whole new level. It reminds me of drinking a Manhattan, if a Manhattan were decked out in holiday spices. There is a lot of room for interpretation for this recipe and hopefully you’ll have fun making different versions. On this Saturday, I highly reccomend trying this receipe out, even if it’s simply to perfume your house with this festive smell.  Grab some friends, so you don’t accidently drink the whole batch.  It’s been known to happen.


Glassware: rocks glass or tumbler

1 1/4 oz rye whiskey

1 oz mulled wine syrup

¼ oz lemon juice

METHOD: Add all ingredients to a shaking tin. Shake well and strain over new ice. Sip with new and old friends.


1 750ml bottle of red wine

4 star anise

2 tbsp whole allspice

3 cinnamon sticks

2 tbsp whole cloves

2 tsp grated ginger

Peel of 1 whole orange

2 cups sugar

Place all ingredients except sugar in a large non-reactive pot.  Bring up to a boil then drop the heat to just a simmer.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.  You can tell it’s done because the whole house will smell of spices.  Strain the mixture through cheese cloth.  Add sugar to mixture and stir until dissolved.

WITH A TWIST: You can keep it classic and just served mulled wine by omitting the sugar.  If you like your mulled wine a little on the sweet side add a ¼ cup of sugar with the rest of the ingredients at the beginning of the cooking process.  This cocktail would be awesome with bourbon or even a black strap rum. This syrup is delicious drizzled on pound cake or mixed into whipped cream and added to berries. 

FOR A CROWD: You can make this cocktail into a punch by adding sparkling apple cider to taste. You can pre-batch this cocktail by just mixing up a big batch. I usually place this in a big container add some ice and whisk to mimic the shaking process. Taste as you mix and once you’ve got the perfect amount of dilution funnel into glass pitchers.  Then your guests can just pour over ice for a ready-made cocktail.

So I don’t know about you but if I could I would wear mulling spice as my holiday perfume. For now, I’ll just keep my house warm with all those delightful spice aromas!

Your neighborhood bar geek,

Catherine Manabat